Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November - Senior Pet Month

Most dogs are considered "senior" at around 7 years of age. This number may be higher for small breed dogs and slightly lower for large breed dogs.

It is hard to believe that Ebony, my black lab/border collie who still acts like a puppy, has now hit the "senior" age bracket. She has begun to get some gray hairs around her chin, too.

"Senior" Ebony with Beard

If your dog is five years old, does that means he is the same physiologic age as a 35-year-old person? Not exactly. The theory that every year in a dog's life is the same as seven years in ours is commonly known, but not very accurate. Size and breed play a major role when considering the age of your dog.

For a more accurate comparison between physiologic age of dogs, follow this formula:

A one-year-old small or medium sized dog is about 15 human years old. When the dog reaches two, he is the equivalent of a 24-year-old person. After that, each year is about four human years. This means that a seven-year-old dog is about the same as a 44-year-old person.

Large and giant breed dogs initially age slower but then age quickly. At one year of age, the dog is about the same physiologically as a 12-year-old child. After that, each year follows the standard seven human years. For giant breed dogs, five years old is considered the beginning of old age.

The average canine life span is around 12 years but differs from breed to breed. By the time most dogs reach seven years of age, they are entering their senior years. The record for the longest canine life span is 29 years.

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